Includes bibliographical references (p. 263-276) and index
1. The Problem and Its Human Face -- 2. Bastardy, Fitness, and the Invention of Adolescence -- 3. Poverty, Fertility, and the State -- 4. Constructing an Epidemic -- 5. Choice and Consequence -- 6. Why Do They Do It? -- 7. Teenage Parents and the Future
As her little boy plays at a day care center across the street, Michelle, an unmarried teenager, is in algebra class, hoping to be the first member of her family to graduate from high school. Will motherhood make this young woman poorer? Will it make the United States poorer as a nation?
Would it surprise you to learn that Michelle is more likely to be white than African American? That she is most likely eighteen or nineteen - a legal adult? That teenage mothers are no more common today than in 1900? That two-thirds of them have been impregnated by men older than twenty? Kristin Luker, author of the acclaimed Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood, traces the way popular attitudes came to demonize young mothers and examines the profound social and economic changes that have influenced debate on the issue, especially since the 1970s. In the early twentieth century, reformers focused people's attention on the social ills that led unmarried teenagers to become pregnant; today, society has come almost full circle, pinning social ills on the sexually irresponsible teen
Dubious Conceptions introduces us to the young women who are the object of so much opprobrium. In these pages we hear teenage mothers from across the country talk about their lives, their trials, and their attempts to find meaning in motherhood